How children, flowers and murals can create lasting change

We’re often asked: “why the combination of children, flowers and murals?”

Flowers for Africa has been working with children over the last ten years to create larger-than-life murals of flowers and other themes to prove their capabilities to themselves and their communities. This boosts their self esteem and community morale which in turn makes fertile ground for lasting positive change.

Children, flowers and murals are puzzle pieces that together can help to unlock individual and collective power. Something profound happens when young people are given the freedom of a huge blank wall and paint. We’ve seen the grumpiest child become everyone’s best friend after painting a giant flower.

We don’t know our own capabilities until we’re given the opportunity to see them.

Why children?

All children are born artists. At a certain age, children are at their most creative and have an unstoppable urge to paint. As Picasso once said: “The problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” Tapping into these natural reserves can help to shift children’s perceptions of themselves and their own worth. Children are deeply impressionable, and meaningful events like painting giant murals can have a lasting effect on their self esteem and support many facets of their development.

Children’s art is also playful and loving, which has profoundly positive effects on the community. They’re also capable of producing surprisingly impressive large-scale art, and take this responsibility very seriously. And when a child fulfills the great challenge of improving their community, the rest of the community is invigorated.

Why flowers?

Flowers for Africa is named for the large flowers that children are tasked with painting in our workshops. Symbolically, flowers are universally positive and represent new beginnings, growth and coming into being. When children paint flowers they really do bloom!

Flowers are also easy for even young children to paint, yet always look amazing. Each flower expresses the unique nature of the child who paints it. The centre of the flower is also an ideal space for children to paint messages and images about their life experiences or the subjects they’ve just learned.

Every child should have the chance to paint something huge that proves they can achieve anything. Painting a giant flower should be seen as a fundamental right of passage.

Why murals?

Murals are universal forms of visual communication in public spaces that have powerful effects on those who see them repeatedly. This is why successful corporations use giant billboards, and why they are the perfect tool for influencing change. Their size make murals a great platform for children to explore and play and a positive mirror to their achievements, giving them a greater feeling of accomplishment. And a beautiful mural has an impressive impact on the community’s environment, leaving a lasting reminder of the capabilities of their children.